I'd agree with you Alex regarding some students maybe just there as its something to do, especially as students need to stay in education or training until they're 18 now, some students have come onto art courses as they have to do something and it doesn't necessarily seem to fit with what they want to do, or maybe they don't know what they want to do, which would seem that we do need to be asking more questions or presenting more information so they can make a better choice.
Agreeing with both of you here!!
And the creative subjects have a tougher time!! Some students think i'll do art or drama or music because "it'll be a doddle", "it'll be a muck about", "it's not an important subject really". They may muck about in classes, disrupt others or not do the work. This in turn can make a teacher loose their enthusiasm for the class. "Oh, why bother with this lot?!".
This attitude from the teacher is certainly not going to change the muck-about-kid's mind in a hurry is it?!!
On top of that, the poor souls who do actually want to be there, want to learn and want to progress are left with a teacher who can't be bothered and classmates who just muck about. "If the class is going to be like this, I don't want to come next year". Before you know it - EVERYONE'S DROPPED OUT!!!
And idea of mine is to possibly intergrate job/career relevance with fun filled activities. Justify how the skills they will learn in the subject can relate to certain jobs or career paths. Couple this by keeping motivation up with more light hearted (but still topic-related) activities.
In another discussion Ann Guilder mentioned
"Essential Motivation in the Classroom" by Ian Gilbert, suggested a really good approach to motivation, and its asking the question "What's in it for me?"
So I'd agree Gina, students need to know how what is being taught is relevant to them and what future paths they could take, hopefully this would help to motivate them so they can progress.